Life begins at 50. Are you ready for it?

Life begins at 50. Are you ready for it

Think you are stuck in a job that does no more for your well-being other than bring in a pay packet at the end of the month? Have you stashed away your youthful dreams of becoming a pilot, a chef or a marathoner simply because they would interfere with your life? Are you too old now to realise any of those dreams?

The answer to that last question is a resounding NO. And that, dear reader, isn't just because statistics abound that show you how modern Indians are far fitter in their 50s and 60s than they were ever before. Nor is it because technology and medicine are enabling us to get up, go out and achieve all that we thought would remain a pipe dream. We can say this with conviction, simply because there are people out there, like you and me, who have proven that age is, as the cliché goes, just a number. These are the people who have started on exciting new careers well after they crossed the dreaded 'middle age'.

To set you on the path of those dreams, here are a few stories from across the country that will inspire you to lace up those shoes, pick up the ladle or sign up for a course in mountaineering.

Latika Chakravorty

An Indian homemaker turning to entrepreneurship well after middle age is a novelty by any standard. Latika Chakravorty has always been an expert at sewing, stitching and knitting but her skills were largely restricted, as she travelled across India with her husband, an Officer-Surveyor from Survey Of India. Not surprisingly, she had a vast collection of sarees and fabrics from all over, which she treasured. It was only when she turned one of these into a smart handbag for her daughter in law, that Latika realised her innate talent for creating works of art from fabric. What was a personal passion soon became a profession with orders streaming in.

Now at 89, Latika’s drawstring pouches and potlis made under the Latika’s Bags brand, fetch orders from all over India and abroad, including countries like Germany, Oman and New Zealand. Latika continues to craft her designer fabric bags on her trusted Usha sewing machine even now, with the belief that the sarees and their stories will continue to live on for much longer, in another form.

Taru Mateti

Taru Mateti, started her running career at the age of 49. Till then, Taru had been a regular Fauji wife, changing her teaching jobs often as she shifted bases all over the country with her husband, putting her engineering degree and M.Ed qualifications to good use, even while she was bringing up her daughter. Taru moved to running when she realised she was picking up awards for everything except working the treadmill at her local gym. Taking it up as a challenge, Taru joined a local running club,to train for a 10k event that year. She hasn't looked back since - having run three 50 km ultras, five full marathons (42.195 km), and many half marathons and shorter distances, as also a half marathon in Melbourne. Continuous learning is her secret, as also the innate motivation and desire to stay fit, and healthy as long as possible.

G R Gopinath

Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath could have spent his life in the army, which he joined after his education in the National Defence Academy and training in the Indian Military Academy. He rose to the rank of Captain and fought in the Bangladesh Liberation War, but opted for early retirement soon after. Gopinath's passion for aviation was ignited after a chance meeting with a former army colleague, and the two decided to start a commercial helicopter service that soon became one of the largest air charter companies in India and Sri Lanka. But it was in 2003, at the age of 52 that Gopinath decided to fly solo and launched India's first low cost airline, Air Deccan. Gopinath has received several awards for Air Deccan and was knighted with "Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur" the first civilian award conferred by the French Government in 2006.

Nanis on the highway

When a 62 year old grandmother gets behind the wheel with a couple of her girl pals for a road trip, it isn't looked on too kindly in this country. But that's exactly what Neeru Gandhi did along with her friends Monicka Chanana (54) and Pratibha Sabharwal (62), and travelled around 1,700 km over six days, traversing the India-Bhutan border at Phuentsholing, an adventure they exploited driving through four states last year. A combined passion for travelling and driving has brought out these grandma's full potential, as they clocked in four road trips in less than four years. They have labelled themselves 'nanis on the highway' and take much pleasure in countering raised eyebrows and concerned frowns with their ready smiles and infectious enthusiasm. The three say meeting new people and making new friends is what drives them on these journeys.

Sandeep Sreedharan

With an engineering degree and an MBA under his belt, Sandeep was set for a career in the high flying corporate world. But at 45, his over-arching love for food and cooking led him to start a blog called ‘Esca Brahma’, and soon started dabbling seriously in cooking. One thing led to another, and in 2018, Sandeep started a casual fine dining restaurant Curry Tales in Mumbai. He continues to popularise south-western coastal cuisine of India and has applied some of the world’s best techniques to give it his unique touch. The self-taught chef is an encyclopedia on curries and food in general and is a passionate food history buff. There’s no looking back for this one-time corporate consultant who is one of the most sought-after chefs in Mumbai today!

Inspired already? If you have a dream of your own, it's never too late to make it come true even after you decide to retire from your current job. All it needs is a bit of proper financial planning, that will take care of your regular needs and those of your family. With adequate funds and a regular income at your disposal to meet monthly expenses and any unforeseen outlay, you can take the plunge into that dream of opening your boutique or launching your own pickle brand or even starting your own airline.

A sound plan like HDFC Life Pension Guaranteed Plan allows you to control your life in your golden years, when you truly want to spread your wings. It not only gives you the assurance of a steady income, it is recession proof and gives added advantages like continued benefits to your family after your demise. A little prudence by investing in an annuity plan while you are still in your active earning years goes a long way in making your 50+ dreams come true!


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